Parts of a Zipper

jalie hoodie sew-along post 4: Step 4 assembly

Edit November 2015: the sew-along is finished! Below you can reach the different parts of the sew-along by clicking on an image. The tagset “jalie hoodie sew-along” contains any and all posts relating to the sew-along. Enjoy!

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Parts of a ZipperHey there stitchers! Things are about to get interesting!

We’re putting in a zipper today. LIKE A BAWSE!!!

the dude

Let’s get started!

For Step 4, we are doing one thing, and one thing only! Observe:

Jalie 2795: Step 4

Separating zippers are some of the easiest to install. You essentially lay the zipper tape to the raw edge, right-sides together, pin, and stitch. You then check the zipper is in correctly. In my case, I will be topstitching at this point, because I will not be topstitching the collar at all (Step 6, figure 46). If you choose to topstitch here, you can topstitch by hand or machine.

You can, of course, install a zeparating zipper by first basting the opening closed, as per many closed zipper installations. I will speak on that point after first showing you my method for this hoodie.

No matter how easy, though, affixing a zipper to a fabric – especially one with stretch – can have pitfalls. Remember, I interfaced this seam. Thin about it this way: a zipper tape does not stretch. In fact, it’s usually made with a twill-finish which is specifically designed not to! So *any* zipper installation can be interfaced first – the seam does not need to stretch!

Now let’s look at a zipper, for a moment:
Parts of a Zipper A double-slider separating zipper differs little – so if you have one of those, great!

Now here’s something pretty cool: my zipper is the perfect length for the coat. The tape literally runs the length of top raw edge to the bottom: at the finished waistband. This was not an accident. The pattern is designed that way, and I cut and stitched carefully. But in theory you can adapt any pattern to a zipper length you want, by lengthening or shortening the pattern pieces. And yes: you also can shorten a zipper (make sure, if you’re looking for a tutorial on this, to find a tutorial that works for a separating zipper). But I hate shortening zippers. So I’m glad that in this case, no shortening is necessary:

Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along: Starting Soon!
I only put a few pins in, installed my zipper foot, and carefully stitched. It almost doesn’t matter where you stitch on that zipper tape – how far away from the raw edge – because the topstitching will control the fabric fold in relation to the teeth. But keep in mind: you don’t want to stitch too close to those teeth, or you can’t operate the zipper.

Stitch slowly at the top and bottom of the zipper, where the plastic overlays and/or retention box can make stitching tough. Make sure to stop the stitch, needle down, and move the slider head past your sewing machine foot, so you’re never stitching up next to it. Securely backstitch at both the beginning and end of the seam, then pull the threads to the backside, knot, and save the thread tails to be hidden after topstitching.

Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along: Starting Soon!
Once both sides of the zipper are secure, flip the hoodie over and make sure you can operate the zipper. Check that the topstitched pocket seamlines line up:

Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along: Starting Soon!

(See what I mean about straight-stitch looking meh on velour? This is literally my only straight-stitched seam on the whole hoodie.)

OK, so read carefully: the pattern has us forgoing topstitching until the last step, so we can include the collar in our topstitching. I’m topstitching now, however, because I don’t want a topstitched effect on the collar. Do what u feel!

So: topstitching! As I mentioned, I use a little zig-zag for this. I’ve put a regular foot of my machine, for more control. I position the fold right against those zipper teeth. Because I’ve interfaced, nothing shifts or ripples. Here you can see the topside of this stitch and the inner side:

Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along: Starting Soon!
Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along: Starting Soon!

Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along: Starting Soon!

I had mentioned the fact you can install the zipper a more traditional way: first, baste-stitching the opening closed, then basting the zipper to the underside of the work, then topstitching. This is certainly acceptable, but it seems like a few extra steps that are unnecessary. And finally: if you aren’t feeling the machine topstitching, try a prick-stitch (scroll down my post to see an example). Prick- (or pick-) stitches, a form of a backstitch, are beautiful, very strong, and oddly satisfying!

Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along Photo Badge
Next up: we’ll be putting together our hood for Step 5. If you plan on lining your hood, go ahead and cut out your lining pieces – the same pieces you cut out for the hood, minus piece K.

Finally: remember we have a Facebook group devoted to sew-alongs and contests, moderated by my friend Judy. This is a closed group; you have to ask to join. We have an amazing price pack for one hoodie completist on October 31, 2015: a Sew Chic pdf pattern, a Thread Theory pdf pattern, a Megan Nielsen pdf pattern, a $30 gift certificate to Nature’s Fabrics – and a shrinky-DON’T, made by moi!

Add a badge to your site or blog – if you’re into it!

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